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I said it out loud today.

Warning: Adult content ahead

I've been struggling with my gender identity for about the last two or three years. What started as sexualized fantasy became… More. It was slow, at first. And weird even as it developed. There are still days when I'm internally disgusted by myself.

This story is going to be 100% honest and probably a little long. Because of that, I'm using a new account. I'm still not entirely comfortable with being out or public.

I've been an online roleplayer for several years – well over 1/3 of my life, actually. While I normally stuck to roleplaying characters of the same gender as I am, I began to try to "challenge" myself by making characters of the opposite gender. The communities I was in… Well, writing smut was a given on any day. I've always been told I was an excellent writing partner for someone of my gender, especially when it came to smut. Even so, I was a little surprised when I was told the same thing about my characters of the opposite gender.

The first person I wrote with knew me personally and didn't mind writing with me regardless. The next person only found out I was the opposite gender of the character a few weeks into writing with me and abruptly ceased communications. That became a trend. People didn't want to write smut with someone who wasn't the same gender as the character. And it was a very frustrating trend.

At first, I chalked my frustration up to the principle of the matter – that writing was writing regardless of the author. But then I delved into porn. I won't get explicit here, suffice it to say that what I began searching for became more and more niche. That was around the same time I began to realize I was frustrated by the lack of roleplaying prospects because I wasn't able to express myself as the gender I wanted to when I wanted.

It wasn't long before I realized writing had lost its flair for me. It was a chore to write as my gender most days, exciting on the few occasions I could write as my binary opposite – even when it wasn't sexual in nature.

I should clarify that, as my assigned gender, sexual frustration was never an issue for me. I like to believe, and have been told, that I am of average attraction. I've had plenty of relationships and wasn't using roleplaying as an outlet in general, I just genuinely enjoyed writing. But the writing was just the lens through which I began to see myself. (Listen to me, even now I'm trying to justify, explain, and make excuses.)

My feelings about my writing left me with some internal confusion. I had always identified as bisexual. Both my parents have known and been supportive since I was a teenager. Most of my friends and colleagues, as well. I never flaunted it, I never considered it essential to my identity – it just was. I'm also lucky enough to have never faced real discrimination in my lifetime.

I also knew I didn't fit typical gender norms. It's actually a running joke in my circle of friends. I always thought norms were bullshit societal constructs and that I had no obligation to adhere to them. I still do, of course.

But questioning my gender – that's a different matter entirely. I didn't even believe that about myself at first. It never entered my mind to consider. I always just thought it was a weird kink I was into. The feeling that something… Just wasn't right wouldn't go away, though. I'm not entirely sure when the puzzle pieces finally clicked in my head. It was definitely a slow and painful process, that much I know.

I began to have episodes of dysphoria. I still do. But it's not a constant. The episodes typically last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. When I'm not having an episode – which I now refer to as [Gender] Mode – I have no doubt about who I am. I love my assigned gender on a day to day basis. I use those pronouns. The idea of being another gender is alien to me and I can't believe the thoughts ever entered my mind.

But when I'm in [Gender] Mode, everything changes. My personality, the way I interact with and view the world, my needs and wants. I become an entirely different person.

I finally confided these feelings to an online friend, who provided me a few resources I could use to do some research. But nothing clicked. I wasn't, I'm not, trans. I'm not fluid either; there is no middle ground for me, I was either one gender or another. I also slowly began to realize I was only attracted to people of the same assigned gender as me when I was in [Gender] Mode. But eventually, after a link to a link to a link ad nauseam, I found a post by someone experiencing the same feelings and they identified as bigender.

I latched onto that word. I clung to it like a drowning man clings to a raft. I researched, I dug, and though there aren't many medical or psychological studies on the phenomenon… I knew. The puzzle finally, blissfully put itself together and I realized I could stop fighting now. That it would be okay. That I am two different genders and two different people. That they could exist simultaneously.

I'd come out as bigender to a few of my online friends. Four, to be exact. I had told nobody in my real life. I know my parents, as supportive as they are, would not accept it based on past conversations about transgender people. I know the friends I have in my life would struggle with it, if they accepted it at all – I live and work in a very rural area filled with Republicans and Trump supporters and hardcore conservative Baptists.

Today, at work, my supervisor was speaking about a former employee. This employee transitioned after leaving the job, but my supervisor continued to use dead pronouns to identify them, then argued with me when I tried to correct them. I left the office. Smoked a cigarette. A couple of hours later, on my next smoke break, a very good friend and coworker of mine who witnessed this argument came outside to smoke with me. This friend explained to me that my supervisor wasn't trying to be disrespectful, which I know – it's coming from a place of ignorance and lack of exposure to the issue. But as my friend was trying to tell me these things, tell me it shouldn't bother me that much, I looked at them and just said the words.

"I'm bigender."

I can't explain the relief I felt when I spoke the words verbally for the first time. But even with that relief came a sense of tension. I mentally prepared myself to explain, justify, and argue with my friend. Instead, they just smiled and said, "So is it like you're two different people depending on the day? That's cool."

And now I want to cry, but I can't because I'm at work. So instead, I'm writing this post just… Because. Just because. Because I need to. Because it felt good to say it, to get the words out, and to maybe have someone know my story. So thank you for bearing with me as I ramble.

tl;dr: I'm bigender and I said it for the first time out loud today. Yay emotions.

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